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Cleat Position

Old 08-22-19, 01:45 AM
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David W
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Cleat Position

I've read in various places that having the cleats further forward helps with peak power (and hence acceleration). Has anyone done any formal testing of this? My own experiments seem inconclusive...
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Old 08-22-19, 02:51 AM
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That's a whole can of worms right there. I have my cleats pretty much as rearward as they can go and just set some PB's in my 200 and kilo. YMMV.
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Old 08-22-19, 03:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
That's a whole can of worms right there. I have my cleats pretty much as rearward as they can go and just set some PB's in my 200 and kilo. YMMV.

Yes me also but wondered whether it was something I needed to adapt to...
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Old 08-22-19, 03:54 AM
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Originally Posted by David W View Post
Yes me also but wondered whether it was something I needed to adapt to...
What's your riding history? How long have you been riding track? Do any other kind of bike racing?
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Old 08-22-19, 04:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
What's your riding history? How long have you been riding track? Do any other kind of bike racing?

Background is in TTs & Pursuit. Only started bunch races this season.
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Old 08-22-19, 04:34 AM
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If you are going to continue being a pursuiter and bunch racer, I'd just go with what you have been doing. Traditional is pedal axle under the first metatarsal, as you probably know, and old school sprint lore has you wanting the axle to be in front of this. Old school. Recent knowledge indicates more power may be had if you move it back, especially if you are doing bigger gears, as contemporary lore suggests is more efficient. There's an article out there that explains this, but I feel lazy right now. Definitely for road TT's the trend has been moving the cleat back for a while now I believe, but there may be cross over for the track, and I'm a sprinter.
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Old 08-22-19, 04:44 AM
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Mid foot cleat position article
Ok, I think this is it, have a look.
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Old 08-22-19, 05:07 AM
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Very helpful, thanks
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Old 08-22-19, 11:20 AM
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I've always set up my cleats as far forward as they'll go. That puts the pedal axle right under the widest part of my foot.
Are you saying that I'd put more power to the pedals with the cleats farther back?
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Old 08-22-19, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 1incpa View Post
I've always set up my cleats as far forward as they'll go. That puts the pedal axle right under the widest part of my foot.
Are you saying that I'd put more power to the pedals with the cleats farther back?
It's a leverage thing. The theory is that you have more leverage with the cleat back vs. forward and therefore easier power application.
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Old 08-22-19, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
It's a leverage thing. The theory is that you have more leverage with the cleat back vs. forward and therefore easier power application.
Ok. I just read the article BP linked. I'm going to move my cleats back a centimeter before tonight's ride and see how it feels.
PI
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Old 08-22-19, 06:08 PM
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A centimeter was all of the adjustment I had with the shoes I used. So I pushed the cleats all the way back.
I wasn't expecting much, I was feeling pretty tired, but I did the 30 second intervals my coach had planned.
And I shattered all of my power numbers up to 30 seconds!
Ok, I'm convinced! I'm looking forward to seeing if it makes a difference in racing on Saturday.
Thanks for this thread!
PI
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Old 08-22-19, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by 1incpa View Post
A centimeter was all of the adjustment I had with the shoes I used. So I pushed the cleats all the way back.
I wasn't expecting much, I was feeling pretty tired, but I did the 30 second intervals my coach had planned.
And I shattered all of my power numbers up to 30 seconds!
Ok, I'm convinced! I'm looking forward to seeing if it makes a difference in racing on Saturday.
Thanks for this thread!
PI
Interesting! Was your cadence range affected at all? The criticism of the cleats-back position is that it can affect top end speed. When I made the change 2 or 3 years ago, it did feel a little sluggish at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly.
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Old 08-22-19, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Baby Puke View Post
Interesting! Was your cadence range affected at all? The criticism of the cleats-back position is that it can affect top end speed. When I made the change 2 or 3 years ago, it did feel a little sluggish at first, but I got used to it pretty quickly.
It didn't feel any different, cadence wise. My Garmin bears that out with a max of 137, which is generally where I am during intervals.
It did feel weird when I first started riding, but at the end of an hour and a half it felt fine.
Why couldn't this have come up at the beginning of the season?
Seriously though, thanks for linking the article. Turns out I've been doing it wrong all this time...
PI
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Old 08-22-19, 07:06 PM
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No problem, glad you found it helpful. I know that others are still having success with a traditional cleat position too, so it may not be ideal for everyone. I moved my cleats back some time ago at the same time I started experimenting with larger gears. I don't have a power meter, so can't really quantify any changes like you can, but this might be part of the reason I seem to be going quicker these days.

What did your coach think of this idea?
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Old 08-23-19, 05:32 AM
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I haven't had a chance to discuss with my coach yet. I should see her tomorrow, I'll talk with her then.

FWIW, the "old school" rule of thumb that I learned was spinners push their cleats forward, mashers push them back. I've always been a small gear spinner, so farther forward seemed better.
That worked well in my 30's, but then I took most of my 40's off from racing. It's not working so well in my 50's. That makes the assumption that age may have something to do with it.

Kind of makes me wonder what other small, seemingly insignificant, changes can be made...
PI
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Old 08-23-19, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by 1incpa View Post
A centimeter was all of the adjustment I had with the shoes I used. So I pushed the cleats all the way back.
I wasn't expecting much, I was feeling pretty tired, but I did the 30 second intervals my coach had planned.
And I shattered all of my power numbers up to 30 seconds!
Ok, I'm convinced! I'm looking forward to seeing if it makes a difference in racing on Saturday.
Thanks for this thread!
PI
There you go... I have experienced the same.
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Old 08-23-19, 03:18 PM
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I've also jammed my cleats as far mid foot as they can go on Giro Empire shoes, and it subjectively feels as if I've opened up my hip angle a little. No cadence problems running a 50x16 in an elite mass start event, which translates to about a gain ratio that you'd get on 91".
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Old 08-23-19, 05:26 PM
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Actually I think it closes your hip angle a little as you're essentially sliding your feet forward. To keep your hip angle the same you may want to move your saddle forward, if you have room within the UCI limits.
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Old 08-23-19, 06:20 PM
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That's what I thought would happen, but it might be that the new cleat position keeps me encourages me from lifting my heel at the top of the stroke. I'm not sure what's exactly happening, but it feels more comfortable at the top.
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Old 08-23-19, 08:21 PM
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Should you adjust your saddle position fore or aft by the amount of cleat movement?
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Old 08-24-19, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by 700wheel View Post
Should you adjust your saddle position fore or aft by the amount of cleat movement?
If you move your cleats back, I'd consider moving your saddle forward. But maybe try it first with no change to the saddle position?
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Old 08-25-19, 05:20 PM
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Well, I raced yesterday. Things didn't go as well as I'd have liked.
1st race was a 24 lap points race. I attacked right before the bell for the first sprint. Came over the top and got a good gap.
Coming into turn 4 I got passed by 5 guys. No points for me.
I couldn't get onto that group, went back to the field, got dropped.
Afterwards I told my coach "Maybe the power meter is off." Her reply, "Well, you did have a pretty good 30 seconds." It's good that she has a sense of humor.
The rest of the day was more of the same.

So, in summary...Did pushing my cleats back help? I think so. I raced well, it's just that a bunch of the guys were racing better. It definitely feels better. I'm going to leave them pushed back and see how it feels long term.

PI
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Old 08-27-19, 02:17 AM
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I'm glad that you are seeing results.

Just know that using race results isn't a good way to determine if you are faster or slower. How you place depends on who showed up that day and how they were feeling, all of which is outside of your control.

One steady thing you can watch is your warmups. I would know if I'm gonna have a good day if my numbers during my full-gas wamup efforts were higher than normal.

BTW, I'm also in the "cleat back" club. For years, I had my cleat forward or in the middle area. Moved them backwards (and adjusted my saddle to compensate) and hit PRs on the power meter and ergo. I didn't get to see if it would translate into PRs on the track due to several truncated seasons in a row. But, early-season numbers were great.
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